Strange Little Girls

  • Record Label: Atlantic
  • Release Date: Sep 18, 2001

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. "Strange Little Girls" is not a pretty album, but that's the point: the ugliness of male-female relations, which she exposes bit by bit with each cover, is a fact that is--in both pop music and pop culture--all too often ignored.
  2. How deliciously perverse, and how very, very her.
  3. She is at the top of her game, and hits it out of the park both concept-wise and musically.
  4. Surprisingly, Strange Little Girls is a street project -- daring, visceral and engaging, even when it's not fully successful.
  5. 70
    For all her concern with the power of language, she seems to forget that in music, that language loses strength exponentially with each layer of music added.
  6. She attacks the possibilities in Strange Little Girls with a grip and grit often missing from her other solo work, and her handful of bull's-eyes easily justifies her audacity.
  7. Strange Little Girls won't resolve the perpetual nutjob/goddess debate swirling around Amos; there's plenty of evidence on hand for either point of view.
  8. ''Girls'' is largely a success, even if most cuts sound traditionally Tori.
  9. But by not lyrically responding to the originals--like Liz Phair did for Exile in Guyville, for instance--Tori stops short of high concept and more than once slips from being revolutionary to simply pretentious.
  10. Neither a straight feminist critique nor a tribute album, Strange Little Girls is rather a nuanced exploration of the dualities of love and aggression.
  11. A stunning flop, a failure on almost every conceivable level -- conceptual, artistic, commercial.
  12. As a concept album, Strange Little Girls fails. As a collection of cover tunes, it infuriates and nauseates.
  13. Alternative Press
    A rare good covers album--creating successful reinterpretations while piquing curiosity for the originals. [Nov 2001, p.74]
  14. Blender
    Girls isn't as pop-friendly as 1998's From The Choirgirl Hotel, but Amos's take on Depeche Mode's starkly beautiful "Enjoy The Silence" is irresistible. [Aug/Sep 2001, p.120]
  15. Mojo
    The power and import of the record is undeniable. [Oct 2001, p.112]
  16. The A.V. Club
    The disc looks, on paper, like an intriguing exercise. Unfortunately, it sounds, in reality, like little more than an intriguing exercise: With few exceptions, it's tedious and predictable, wearing its calculated concept far too boldly on its sleeve.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 24
  2. Negative: 8 out of 24
  1. Jun 22, 2016
    Though not little, it is a strange and experimental effort by Tori Amos that does offer some winning reinventions of classic songs, howeverThough not little, it is a strange and experimental effort by Tori Amos that does offer some winning reinventions of classic songs, however strong losers. Download: Rattlesnakes, ’97 Bonne & Clyde Full Review »
  2. Pete
    Apr 29, 2007
    Tori Amos is one of the most original artists, not only in the music industry today, but in history. Tori has spoken about how she takes Tori Amos is one of the most original artists, not only in the music industry today, but in history. Tori has spoken about how she takes personal experiences and uses them as a creative force within her music,. Each album has a different concept, her debut album "Little Earthquakes" was written in diary form, "Under The Pink" was like a painting, "Boys For Pele" (recorded in a small church in Ireland) was like a story, "From The Choirgirl Hotel" (recorded in a 300 year old farm house in Cornwall) focused on many levels of sorrow and "To Venus And Back" (a double album, with the first disc being new material and the 2nd being a live disc) as Tori puts it "talks alot about the shadows and the shadow world". The concept of this album "StrangeLittleGirls" is that Tori covered 12 songs that were written by male artists and she sang them from a female perspective. I personally was not familiar with many of songs here, although I did check out the all the original versions to see just exactly what Tori decided to do differently with hers. Some of the songs Tori has kept similar to the originals, while others she has drastically changed, an example of this is Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" (Neil Young had to hear this because Tori changed the lyrics) which is completely unrecognizable, Tori's version is dark, right from her vocals to the music, whereas her versions of The Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays" and Slayer's "Raining Blood" are the exact opposite, both songs have been slowed right down vocally, and stripped down to a basic format musically, Tori stripped the keyboards off "I'm Not In Love" leaving it to be all about the vocals with just a drum beat in the background and a wailing guitar sound here and there, on "I Don't Like Mondays" Tori gives this dark and angry song (originally based on the infamous San Diego shooting in 1979) a childlike effect, and uses only an electric piano for the music, Tori said she sang "from the point of view of the cop who went to the school that day" because she couldn't "hold the essence of the person who went and killed everybody". Tori also uses a similar format when covering Eminem's "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" (the original version was about Eminem killing his wife and driving the car with his young daughter to bury the body, which I didn't think came across as anything other than a "F___ you!" attitude which wears thin and therefore failed to give the song an actual impression) and manages to suceed and put the original version to shame by speaking from the dead wife's point of view who is lying in the trunk of the car, this version is very dark and creepy, Tori only sings in the chorus part of the song with the lyrics "Just the two of us". On Tori's version of the title track "Strange Little Girl" (originally by The Stranglers) Tori said "this is the little girl who father killed her mother in Eminem's song, all grown up, having to deal with the fact that she was an accomplice to the murder", Tori has also said that her version of "Time" (originally by Tom Waits) is sang from the point of view of Death. Her version of The Beatles' "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" (which had to be approved by Yoko Ono) includes her idea of the song opening with a re-reading of a newspaper article written after John Lennon's death which she linked to the original version. Tori said that "One of the last people Mark David Chapman called before he killed John Lennon was an escort service, and we don't know if they had sex or if they just talked, but he told her to "be silent". So this is sung through the eyes of that call girl". On the opening track "New Age" (originally by the Velvet Underground" Tori said she "wanted to have this balmy, undulating rhythm going on...sort of stripped, and that's where the passion was coming from". In Tori's book "Piece By Piece" she talks about how she wanted to use a certain tone for the song. I also read that Tori used the lyrics which she heard on an early Velvet Underground bootleg from the 60's. Her version of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence" is similar to "New Age" in the way it's pretty much about the vocals. I'd never heard Lloyd Cole's song "Rattlesnakes" but Tori's version is one of my favourites on the album, here we get to hear an acoustic guitar (that kicks in on the chorus) which isn't that common with Tori's music. My favourite song on the album is "Real Men" (originally by Joe Jackson) which finishes the album off perfectly, like "Time" this is just Tori and her piano, the melody, the vocals, the lyrics...I think everything about this song is brilliant. "StrangeLittleGirls" might not be Tori own material but, in my opinion she has surpassed each and every track on here. This album, like any and every other album, by anyone and everyone, is it's own, comparisons are made between a new album that an artist or band have released, which to a certain level, is fine, but people need to realise that each and every album is it's own and not to overlook everything about an album just because of comparisons to another. Full Review »
  3. RobbieC
    Apr 10, 2007
    Obviously not her best record; none of it is truly hers. But she does a damn good job of occupying other territory. Some songs shine, others Obviously not her best record; none of it is truly hers. But she does a damn good job of occupying other territory. Some songs shine, others seem pointless, but over all the album is intelligent and dynamic. "New Age," "Rattlesnakes," and "Raining Blood" in particular intrigue. The latter being a very challenging, but horribly gorgeous song that by all accounts supercedes the original. Full Review »